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PROVIDENCE — Few Rhode Islanders are seeking civil unions more than a month after the state began offering them to same-sex couples. Only nine couples were joined in a civil union in July, the first month licenses were available.

Dawn Euer, a spokeswoman for Marriage Equality Rhode Island, says couples may be skipping civil unions to hold out for true marriage. Her group plans to push gay marriage legislation in the Ocean State again next year.

But Rep. Peter J. Petrarca, the state lawmaker who wrote the civil union bill, says couples may just be trying to figure out if a civil union is right for them.

The state’s General Assembly passed legislation authorizing civil unions this year after a gay-marriage bill stalled.

From wire dispatches and staff reports